School bullying 101. Imagine the following scenario: It’s the first day of school, shouting echoes through the school halls, as something attracts the attention of the students. A boy has thrown another against the wall and proceeds to physically hurt the other over and over again, followed by name-calling. The bystanders stand and watch the cruel events that take place. Eventually, a teacher gets to the scene and tells everyone to head back to class. The teacher then takes the person that committed the bullying to the office along with the person that was bullied.
For the sake of explanation, the person that is the aggressor will be named Jake, the person that is bullied, Carl, and lastly an innocent bystander, Andrew. Each person is a victim, each with the inability to communicate his thoughts properly. Each in need of help from one another.
Committing the Act of Bullying (Jake) – This person is often seen as the aggressor who picks on a particular person or group of people. There are a lot of negative connotations associated with Jake, often called a tormenter, intimidator, oppressor, bully. All these are labels, but people are far too complex to simply be defined by labels. The reality is people who bully suffer in some way or another and it’s not always obvious.
The person being bullied (Carl) – This person is the target of bullying, often seen as the main and only person to suffer. This person suffers on a day-to-day basis because they are a target of an act caused by pain. This type of a person struggles to communicate because they are fearful of the consequences. They struggle in silence and often blame themselves for being a target.
Bystander (Andrew) – This person is the least thought about in this scenario. They experience a feeling of helplessness, the urge to want to help but, fearful of trading places with Carl. This type of person is a very silent one. A lot of internal thoughts happen; fear of being an outcast because they said something, fear of being shunned in their social status, fear of losing what they have but, frustrated because they want to intervene. They are conflicted on the inside, and it’s because of this conflicted nature that they start suffering; a consistent internal struggle.
There are loads and loads of websites that state helpful sets of tips and solutions to help with bullying. These include not to retaliate with aggression and fight back, stay in crowded areas don’t be alone, and tell a trusted adult so they can help with the situation. All of these solutions have merit and can be of help. But, what if you are too scared to approach an adult? There are parents out there that have written about their children’s traumatic bullying experiences at school and their children beg them “not to tell the teachers”. Why may you ask? The children are fearful of being called a tattletale, or a snitch. When it comes to not fighting back, “sometimes emotions get the best of us and we can’t hold back”. Staying in large groups may stop what you experience sometimes “but what happens if you are alone and no one else is around?” These are just some of the most common concerns seen online in comment sections.
So, does this mean we should give up? No! There are other things we can do we can teach our younger generation about awareness. “But, everybody already knows about bullying so what’s the point of awareness?” True, school bullying is not a new thing. It’s been around forever, but the act of bullying is new. Now I know what you are thinking, isn’t that the same thing? No, it’s very different because it separates the act from the person. By removing the label, we choose to address the problem, not the person.
Once the problem is out we can choose to address it in different ways. The problem, in this case, is the act of bullying. We can start asking questions like, what causes a person to act out and bully? How does this act affect all people considered? Can we address school bullying by doing certain things? What are the underlying causes of this problem? These questions all forget about a person bullying and rather focus on the act of bullying. We create awareness by getting people to talk about it, by showing the youth of today that they are not alone. Simple things can go a long way – creating events, or social gatherings that bring people together and create an atmosphere where children feel loved and safe to be who they are.
To let the people like Jake know that there is another way to overcome this problem.
To let the Carl’s of the world know that they are loved and are accepted for who they are.
To all the Andrews, you’re not alone because others are there for you.
We combat this problem by showing youth that they can empower one another, push back, and solve the problem. To preach love not hate, we can make this all happen with organizations like Free2Luv. Let us show our future generations that we have the capability to be more compassionate and empathetic. If anything, it will make us grow as a species. Contributed by Free2Luv Advocate Michael Scotten